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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

exclamatory Welshmen.  Kinjack would have callec
them a panicky rabble. They were mostly undersizec
men, and as I watched them arriving at the first stage
of their battle experience I had a sense of their victim-
ization. A little platoon officer was settling his men
down with a valiant show of self-assurance. For the
sake of appearances, orders of some kind had to be
given, though in reality there was nothing to do except
sit down and hope it wouldn't rain. He spoke sharply
to some of them, and I felt that they were like a lot of
children.  It was going to be a bad look-out for two
such bewildered companies, huddled up in the Quad-
rangle, which had been over-garrisoned by our own
comparatively small contingent. Visualizing that for-
lorn crowd of khaki figures under the twilight of the
trees, I can believe that I saw then, for the first time,
how blindly war destroys its victims. The sun had
gone down on my own reckless brandishings, and I
understood the doomed condition of these half trained
civilians who had been sent up to attack the Wood.
As we moved out, Barton exclaimed, "By God, Kan-
gar, I'm sorry for those poor devils!" Dimly he pitied
them, as well he might. Two days later the Welsh
Division, of which they were a unit, was involved in
massacre and confusion.    Our own occupation of
Quadrangle Trench was only a prelude to that pan-
demonium which converted the green thickets of
Mametz Wood to a desolation of skeleton trees and
blackening bodies.

In the meantime we willingly left them to their
troubles and marched back twelve miles to peace and
safety. Mametz was being heavily shelled when we
stumbled wearily through its ruins, but we got off
lightly, though the first four miles took us four hours,
owing to congestion of transport and artillery on the

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